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The Focus

    by Dennis Wheeler

September 27, 2006

We live in a 'microwave' society!! Don't you agree??

We hurry from appointment to appointment...meeting to meeting...ball practice to ball practice...and we don't give much thought to our nutritional needs. If we're not driving 'thru' some fast-food restaurant, then we are probably shoving some box of so-called food into the 'zapper'. My body stands as a monument to Burger King!!

I think especially that my generation (Baby Boomers) has failed to understand the value of slowness ... meditation ... pondering ... reflecting ... and wondering.

Sometime ago, fifty people…  ( Click for more )

The following is a unique view of Psalm 23. I'm not certain who originated these thoughts...but it ministered greatly to me and I would like to share it with you in hope that your heart will be encouraged. "The Lord is my shepherd" ... that's Relationship! "I have everything I need" ... that's Supply! "He lets me rest in green meadows" ... that's Rest! "He leads me beside peaceful streams" ... that's Refreshment! "He renews my strength" ... that's Healing! "He guides me along right paths" ... that's Guidance! "Bringing honor to His name"…  ( Click for more )
July 26, 2006

Can you imagine this??!!

There you are, driving down the interstate toward home. The speed limit is 65 mph, and you are crusing along at 76 mph. Then, the unthinkable happens - - you zoom right past a police car! Immediately you feel a surge of adrenelin and your eyes dart to the rearview mirror.

Did he see you? Has his patrol car pulled onto the highway?

Personally, this has never happened to me (yet!)...but I have heard reports such as this from several of my minister friends!!!!!

No doubt, this scene has probably happened to most of us.

Now...the…  ( Click for more )

July 19, 2006

Growing up in the beautiful Ohio River town of Ironton, Ohio...I vividly remember gathering on lawn of the County courthouse square for our annual Flag Day Celebrations. The Veterans would be in attendance wearing their military hats proudly...the high school band would play "God Bless America"...we would place our hand across our heart and recite the Pledge to the flag boldly. Precious memories!!

History teIls us that on June 14,1777, the Continental Congress approved the design of a national flag. "Resolved, that the Flag of the thirteen United States shall be thirteen stripes,…  ( Click for more )

July 12, 2006

Jesus never claimed to be one of many ways to God. In fact, Jesus Himself stated confidently "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one can come to the Father except through me." (John 14:6). But this exclusive stance really irks a lot of the contemporary critics of Christianity today.

I heard someone joke and say..."To believe that all religions lead to God is like saying that to call home all you need to do is simply dail any seven digits you choose. All calls end up in the same place! Only a fool would try that approach. Obviously, every set of numbers but one would…  ( Click for more )

July 5, 2006

Early one morning two college students (probably Ohio State University students!!) were walking across the campus when they came to the snow-covered football field. One guy said to the other, "I bet you can't walk across the field - goal to goal - and leave a perfectly straight line of footprints in the snow."

"Whoa buddy! Just watch!", said the other guy. And off he went - stepping off from one end zone he carefully moved down the field. He kept his eyes focused on his feet and occasionally would glance up to see how much further he had to walk. When he was finished he…  ( Click for more )

"Let us continually offer our sacrifice of praise to God by proclaiming the glory of His name. Don't forget to do good and to share what you have with those in need, for such sacrifices are very pleasing to God." - Hebrews 13:15-16

"Did you get anything out of church today?"

Ever heard that question asked after a Sunday morning church service? Sadly, that very comment is heard in many cars between the church service and Sunday lunch. In many situations, the sermon may not have been well prepared or the worship service may not have been planned so that…  ( Click for more )

"Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God - this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind..." (Romans 12:1-2)

The Scripture listed above is dealing with 'repentance' - "do not conform any longer...but be transformed." You see, repentance is not a once in a lifetime commitment. It's not simply an apology with a promise to do better. Repentance is a whole new lifestyle.

Repentance…  ( Click for more )

Well, for the past few weeks, in The Central Point, we have been examining how to offer our bodies as living sacrifices to our Holy God. We have talked about offering our ears, our eyes and last week, our mouth.

Today let's take a look at our 'thoughts'!


I know that your thoughts are not physical parts of your body. But they are inseparable from your body. Your thoughts reflect and direct what you do with your eyes, your ears, and your mouth.

Review these Scriptures about how to offer your thoughts to God as an act of worship... "Whatever…  ( Click for more )

With intensity, read these words from the New Testament book of Romans... "Do not let any part of your body become a tool of wickedness, to be used for sinning. Instead, give yourselves completely to God since you have been given new life. And use your whole body as a tool to do what is right for the glory of God" - Romans 6:13 (NLT) "Give your bodies to God. Let them be a living & holy sacrifice - the kind He will accept. When you think of what He has done for you, is this too much to ask?" - Romans 12:1 (NLT)

For the past two weeks in The Central Point we have been…  ( Click for more )

May 31, 2006

O.K. ... I'll admit it. I have to confess that I am an "AMERICAN IDOL" addict!! Taylor Hicks was just crowned the 2006 American Idol on Wednesday evening. A record 63.4 million votes were cast the night before. I'm sure that his life is now a whirl-wind of interviews, television appearances, record deals, etc. His life will forever be impacted. Katherine McPhee was runner-up but I'm sure she has a promising career ahead of her. I like Taylor Hicks but I really wanted Mandesa to win. However, I enjoyed every minute of the 'American Idol' season. I…  ( Click for more )

May 24, 2006

I hear folks all around me talking about that good 'ol summer tradition . . . taking a vacation!!

Going to the beach...renting a cabin in the mountains...a trip to Ireland...taking the kids to Disney World...climbing a mountain in California...a cruise through the Panama Canal. It all sounds like so much fun!!

I have found that my life is so hectic right now...I feel like I'm going in a hundred different directions. I hear the soft whisper from my wife..."We need a vacation!". A time to stop, to rest, to refresh and to refuel.

You know, it's easy…  ( Click for more )

Some of you may remember that back in the early 1980's Cabbage Patch Dolls made their appearance and became the rage. Every youngster wanted a Cabbage Patch doll...but they were hard to find. In fact, folks would line up for hours before the toy stores would open in hopes of getting a Cabbage Patch doll for their child or grandchild. Incredibly, many toy stores had to break up fights as parents would get into fist-fights over Cabbage Patch dolls and some folks were willing to pay inflated prices just to finally get a Cabbage Patch doll. I know my dad went to incredible lengths…  ( Click for more )

I'm fairly confident that if I were with the apostles after the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus...I am sure that you would be reading my name instead of Thomas' in John 20! Without a doubt I would be the one to express doubt! There is no way the disciples, who had witnessed the appearance of Jesus, would be able to convince me that He was alive. order for me to believe this incredible story I would have to physically put my hands into the nail prints and see the scars on His body. Then, and only then, would I be convinced!!

Let's pick up…  ( Click for more )

April 12, 2006

"God is so rich in mercy, and He loved us so very much, that even while we were dead because of our sins, He gave us life when He raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God's special grace that you have been saved!) For He raised us from the dead along with Christ, and we are seated with Him in the heavenly realms - all because we are one with Christ Jesus. And so God can always point to us as examples of the incredible wealth of His grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all He has done for us through Christ Jesus. God saved you by His special grace when you believed.…  ( Click for more )

April 5, 2006

I believe that most everyone who knows me is aware that my favorite author is none other than...Max Lucado!

Let me share with you how Max describes the event of the Cross in his book The Gift for All People... "Christ Jesus came to earth for one reason - - to give His life as a ransom for you, for me, for all of us. He sacrificed Himself to give us a second chance. He would have gone to any lengths to do so. And He did! He went to the cross, where man's utter despair collided with God's unbending grace. And in that moment when God's great gift was complete,…  ( Click for more )

Last night we received a phone call at home from a good friend of ours who has been wrestling with a career decision for the past few weeks; and after much prayer, thought and counsel he has opted to accept the new position. He is at peace about his decision and he is anxious for a new chapter in his life to begin.

How many times have you come to a crossroads and wondered which way to turn - this job or that job, this person or that person, stay or move? How often have you been faced with a circumstance you didn't know how to handle regarding a child, a spouse, or a coworker?…  ( Click for more )

Look at these words from Romans 6:13 - "Do not let any part of your body become a tool of wickedness, to be used for sinning. Instead, give yourselves completely to God since you have been given new life. And use your whole body as a tool to do what is right for the glory of God." (NLT)

How can we, as His children, use our whole body on a daily basis as a spiritual act of worship?

In fact, let's just get real specific...just exactly how can we offer our EARS as a living sacrifice to God?

Well, consider these words from Scripture... "The heart of the discerning acquires…  ( Click for more )

Most of you know that I am an avid Ohio State University fan. So what better way to begin the new year of 2003 than by cheering the Ohio State University Buckeyes to a National Championship this past Friday evening!! It was an incredible game!! I didn't know if my heart could take all the tension and I practically chewed my fingernails down to the knuckles!!

Following the game as I listened to the sports commentators and read the write-ups in the newspapers ... it got me to thinking...

ISN'T IT STRANGE... If a football game goes into double overtime - everybody…  ( Click for more )

March 1, 2006

One of my favorite stories in the Bible (and it's a favorite for most children too!) is found in the New Testament book of Mark. Turn to chapter 2 in this book and you'll find the touching story of a paralyzed man whose friends desperately wanted Jesus to heal him. So these dedicated friends carried him on a mat to the house where Jesus was teaching...but the the place was so packed with people that they couldn't even get near the door.

This did not deter them though, they just sought a creative way to get to Jesus. They somehow maneuvered the man & the mat…  ( Click for more )

February 22, 2006

Have you ever had to go 'church shopping'?

Have you ever moved to a new city and had to visit around for a church? Probably one of the most important criteria in choosing a church home (other than doctrine) is the reception we receive as we walk in the front door. Whether a church is a warm & caring fellowship can be determined within 10 mintues of entering it's doors!

Being new in a church where everybody already knows each other can be a lonely experience - particularly if the people in the church are cliquish or exclusive. In most churches the minister…  ( Click for more )

February 15, 2006

In Romans 12:1 we read that in view of God's mercy we are to ... "offer our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God; for this is our spiritual act of worship."

So just how do we 'offer our bodies as living sacrifices'? The Bible speaks on various ways to do this and one specific avenue is to SING.

There are 139 verses of Scripture about singing to the Lord (and of course, the book of Psalms is a collection of 150 song lyrics.) Psalm 89:1 - "I will sing of the Lord's great love forever."

Psalm 104:33 - "I will sing to the Lord all my life;…  ( Click for more )

February 8, 2006

Sometime back I was leading a men's Bible study group and one of the men in the group, a young believer in Christ, raised his hand and said, "Can you explain this 'grace' thing to me?"

Several other men jumped into the conversation as we attempted to define & describe 'grace'. As we did so, it kind of struck me . . . that I'm fairly confident that there are many Christians who probably need to be reminded of the 'grace' thing!

In my own life I must admit that I accepted Christ as my Savior when I was in the 3grade and I knew…  ( Click for more )

February 1, 2006

It is said that during World War II there was a Greek immigrant, by the name of Gus, who walked from Lewiston, Idaho all the way to Washington, D. C. This man dearly loved his adopted country. He was too old to fight, but he wanted to find a way to help pay for the freedom he enjoyed. Gus decided he would use his feet and his willpower to raise money for the war effort. He asked his family and friends to give a penny to the war effort for every mile he walked.

Although the trip took Gus several months, by the time he neared the nation's capitol, news of the Greek American…  ( Click for more )

January 25, 2006

Have you heard the latest news? According to Agape Press...atheist activist Michael Newdow has filed suit to remove the national motto "In God We Trust" from U. S. currency. Newdow states that every time he sees the motto on money, documents and government locales, it makes him feel like a 'political outsider.' And when he travels to foreign countries and exchanges American currency, he is being forced to 'evangelize' for a religious view he explicity denies. Pacific Justice Institute, along with U. S. Department of Justice deputies, will be defending the use…  ( Click for more )

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